Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 9: Meet The Homeless Voice Residents

63-year-old Peggy is a Paiyote Indian from Las Vegas. In order to prepare her and her 14 brothers for a wide range of experiences both on and off of the reservation, she was raised half of her life on the reservation and the other half as part of American culture.

Despite her father's best efforts, at 20 years old Peggy found herself in the intensive care burn unit after her husband set her and their home on fire and left her for dead. She didn't die. She survived in spirit and continues to thrive in heart.

After living for nearly 3 years at the Homeless Voice Homeless shelter Peggy says, "I wake up every morning and I take a breath. The Great Father has given me another chance to make it right."

"Whether it's 5 days, 5 hours or 5 minutes, He gave me another day and I am grateful for that," she continued. "After living here for so long I learned that I am more patient than I ever thought I was."

Peggy cautions women to take care of themselves in spirit first. "Women need to find out what makes them happy," she says. "If you're not happy within yourself you are no good to anyone else around you."

What makes Peggy most happy about life? "I'm ME!" she shouts emphatically. "I don't allow anyone else to take that away from me. Yes, I get depressed and lonely but I bring myself out of it by making someone else laugh and smile every day."

When I asked Peggy why she didn't allow her past abuse to bring her to a place of permanent despair she said, "I wasn't done with life yet."

Christopher 23,
is from Hollywood, Florida and has spent 3 months at shelter. While working as a Homeless Voice vendor Chris dances, smiles and waves like he is at the party of the year. "I talk to people. I flirt with the girls," Chris said with a laugh. "I found myself out there."

Chris credits his roommate Ronnie for his ability to maintain a positive attitude. "My roommate would tell me that to find yourself out there you have to do what you do- you have to be yourself. I try to have fun, because if I don’t, I’m gonna be one sad mofo."

Chris said he wanted to kill himself a couple of times but he moved past that because he talked to the right people and he has hope for his future. Chris was raised in foster homes for the majority of his life. He said the many people who took him in contributed to his positive attitude about life.

“Me wanting to commit suicide was recent, maybe last year. I felt like I wasn’t able to do life," Chris remembered. "Just talking to people that were nice and could give me positive things to think about like the fact that I have a long life to live reminded me that there’s no reason for me to think about killing myself.”

For anyone out there whose life is in shambles and they feel like they can't go on, Chris has an encouraging word, "Why do you hate yourself? Who did what to you that makes you want to kill yourself? You’re a strong man. If I can do it, you can do it. I’ve been through rough times and I'm still standing, smiling and prospering. Being at this shelter, at what seemed like my lowest point, did that for me."



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